Archive for December, 2011

A Modo Mia

The Italian coffee maker Lavazza have now decided to compete with the likes of Tassimi and Nescafe using their A Modo Mia coffee machines. Although it comes in a compact size, the A Modo Mia packs a lot into it’s 20.5cm wide frame. For example, it has a steam arm to heat milk, a 1 litre water reservoir and a good size pod holder with a drip tray. It also has a nice, two-tone finish displayed in a range of colours, allowing it to blend in well with any modern kitchen.

In the first instance it is useful to look at the functions on this machine. It takes 50 seconds to fill the water tank and get the machine active. To pour your first drink,  place your chosen flavour in the slot at the top of the model and pull down  on a silver lever.

The first cup I poured was a double espresso which took about 35 seconds; this is longer than the preparation of a similar drink on either the Tassimo or Nespresso machines.

Although slower than the above mentioned machines, the quality of the drink was excellent. The espresso had a rich, smooth finish that would bear favorable comparison with more expensive models.

A macchiato and cappuccino were also tested using the steaming component. On cheaper models of espresso makers steam arms can cause problems. However, the A Modo Mia’s steam wand worked well and heated the milk, generating the appropriate whooshing and gurgling noises in the process!! As an offshoot of the steaming process, the steam generated can also create hot water fora cup of tea. One small observation: the steam arm is on the short size, making it difficult for some mugs to be used with the A Modo Mia.

The A Modo Mia is also easy to clean and maintain. For example, once you’ve  finished using the coffee pods they fall automatically into a container and the extra water drained off into a separate tray leaving no mess behind.

The coffee pods that come with the machine can be bought for £3.59 for 16 from major supermarkets such as Tesco or directly from Lavazza at Thus the cost per cup works out at 22p

So if you are looking for a compact, easy to clean Italian espresso machine that fits well into a modern kitchen, then the A Modo Mia is certainly worth looking at.


Saeco Aroma review

In this post I will highlight the main points of a Saeco Aroma review that I read recently.

The Saeco Aroma is a modern looking espresso machine that has a stainless-steel boiler.

In the Saeco Aroma review the person carrying out the testing took advantage of the fact that the Saeco Aroma had a powerful 15-bar pump that allowed him to make coffee in 105 seconds – which takes some doing!

Additional features that were picked up by the Saeco Aroma review was the fact that the large water tank only had to be refilled once a week; but remember, this will obviously depend on the amount of coffee or espresso you drink!

The machine comes with pre packaged doses of coffee that fit neatly into the pressurised portafilter. These packages come with the added advantage of freeing up the user from tamping or grounding and thus cutting on the amount of mess that is made by the machine.

The Saeco Aroma review found the cup warmer to be  a nice touch. This device allows you to position your cups on the warmer while you make additional espressos . For example, the reviewer left a cup on the warmer  and 3 minutes later the drink had retained it’s heat.

The steaming wand in the machine has been placed quite low, but the tester  used a 16oz pitcher, filled to about 2/3 of actual capacity, and then placed the machine on the far edge of a counter to allow the cup to be correctly positioned for steaming

Just a word of warning – if the portafilter has not been tighten firmly enough or if it is filled too high with water, it may leak at the top. The tester in the Saeco Aroma review only experienced this once and after further testing did not come across this problem again.

The reviewer also found that the Saeco Aroma’s pressurized portafilter tends to be less sensitive to grinding and  gives you a consistent shot,  even if your not an expert with these machines. For most users this is an excellent feature, since you can get a good shot with a pre-ground espresso or pod.

In conclusion, the Saeco Aroma review found the Saeco Aroma to be an impressive machine with a strong build that make good quality shots at a reasonable price.